Bay Street’s oldest structure comes tumbling down

Shoppers walking along Bay Street might notice something new in the north facade of storefronts — a giant, gaping hole.

Howard Minor’s building at 731 Bay St., which has remained empty and in great need of repair for some time, has been demolished, taking with it many years of the owner’s hard work and memories.

“It’s a shame because it’s got mem-ories that you would not believe,” Minor said.

But the unstable building was con-demned and remained empty for long enough that he eventually decided to tear it down, noting that Port Orchard’s downtown needs to be modernized, and his building was too old for such a remodel.

“I bought (the building) 50 years ago — it’s the oldest building in town,” Minor said. “And there was no way to rejuvenate it to where it would be a credit to the city.”

Minor plans to sell the lot and already has four people interested, his top choice being Seattle-area microbiologist Mansour Samadpour, who owns six other properties along Bay Street.

Minor wants the lot’s next owner to level several of the adjacent buildings for a new development, and whoever plans to do that, Samadpour or otherwise, gets the building.

“He wants to tear down that whole block,” Minor said of Samadpour. “If he’s going to do that, I’ll sell it to him. If not, I won’t sell it to him.”

Minor sees the demolition and sale as a step forward for revitalization in the downtown core, and believes Samadpour could be the answer.

“I still have a great interest in the city inasmuch as I would like to see it on its feet, but I don’t have the ability to tell them how anymore,” Minor said. “So I’ll go along with the guy with the best idea for the city.”

Sadampour is a little more reserved about his plans and interest in Minor’s property, declining to confirm any specific plans to purchase the property or redevelop the 700 block as a whole.

“Obviously anyone who is interested in downtown Port Orchard would be intersted in Mr. Minor’s property,” Samadpour said Tuesday. “There is a lot of interest in developing downtown Port Orchard; I do have an interest in that.”

In the time Minor owned the building, it housed a ship goods store, a restaurant, attorneys and a number of other businesses.

After the building was condemned, residential and business neighbors in the area worked to clean it up, putting up boards and painting the storefront. At one point, residents had a plan to paint a mural on the storefront until it was either remodeled or rebuilt.

In a press release, the city explained that the project was nearing completion on abatement, demolition and asbestos removal. Because of repairs to the covered walkway, that structure will not be compromised by the destruction.

Any questions regarding the demolition and asbestos removal should be directed to Port Orchard Public Works or the Planning Department by calling (360) 876-4491.

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